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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on April 24, 2014

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Horiizontal Indirects:

@ April 30, 2011 1:16 PM in Horizontal indrect hwh

Veissmann also;

Swearing on Life:

@ April 30, 2011 10:12 AM in NG conversion - diameter of old raditor pipes

I would swear on my life that it WOULD work with the big pipes.
I would recommend that a new Mod/Con boiler be at the top of your list A PROPERLY SIZED ONE for the load, now and maybe even a touch undersized. Remember, "MOD" stands for "Modulating". That means that a 150,000 BTU Mod Con will be mostly firing at 100,000 BUT's into a 100,000 BTU load once you cut your heat losses in the future. Start saving immediately for that new roof with the savings in fuel.
Those look like bricks in the flue ways. That is a trick sometimes used on an old coal conversion to oil to slow down the flue gasses. Coal draft was very slow and a power oil burner was faster. It helped with heat absorption. It doesn't do any good if you don't clean the boiler though. If you have combustion equipment like a Bachrach wet kit, you will probably find that the draft is really high and the flue gas temperature is also. Put in the bricks and the draft will go down to an acceptable limit and the stack temperature will go down too. The CO2 may go up a tad if the boiler is reasonably tight. But no matter what you do to these old gals, they can't dance with the young-un's anymore.
I drool thinking how nicely a system like this would run with a Mod/Con on outdoor reset. And if it is on two floors, you should be able to split it into two zones. Put two zone valves on the system, leave the zone that stays cooler, always open and let the thermostat and zone valve on the hotter zone, control the system.
Oh what fun Hydronic Heat can be.
And IMO, if you want AC, do that separately as a ducted system. I've never seen the two mix. And you can do amazing things with Mini-Splits.


@ April 30, 2011 9:48 AM in Help!

Nice solution to a complicated problem.
Done the way it should be done.
Congrats to a well thought out potential solution.

Oil fired water heaters

@ April 30, 2011 9:42 AM in Cold start an oil fired water heater??

You don't offend me. No one does. I answered your questions as best as I could.
I do mostly service work now. My biggest work comes from being called or having others ask me about things. I could get a call from some stranger, with a problem like yellow water in the tub when they fill it up. I check it out. I see something done recently ( in the recent few years) and I know what their problem is. The customer doesn't tell you that the installer has been romancing them with answers for the last year about the worsening problem. Like a failing water heaters connected to floor heating systems. I get a knot in my stomach when I realize that I will be telling someone they got screwed. The screwed calls up the screw-er and complains when they find out the truth. The screw-er responds with some COS and tell them that I don't know what I am talking about. I'm being bad mouthed behind my back and I can't defend myself.
Here's what I deal with.
I went to a home yesterday in a nice development. They had an 80 gallon electric water heater in a second floor closet that was as wide as the closet and the casings and baseboard will need to be removed to take it out. The owner wants an instantaneous gas water heater. I could have put it in the closet but there was no way to run the gas. So, I checked out the crawl space. 48" from the top of the footing to the bottom of the sill. I can get more height by going out with the floor joists being parallel. It had a new 90%+ WA furnace vented a LONG distance with 2" Sch 40 DWV PVC. The outside terminations weren't cemented. No bird or insect screens on the outlet or inlet. The outlets were 2' from the LP gas regulator. Because of windows, doors and framing issues, I had two choices on venting and install location. Under the kitchen in which case, it would vent on to her brick patio where they might be annoyed by noise if it is running. Or, on the west side beside the outside shower but that would put the heater under her bedroom and it might be noisy. If she was fussy about noise, it was a consideration. I then told her that it was too bad that the gas furnace had been replaced by an air-head because the Tank-less I was using had a max. fire of 200,000 BTU's but I would have put an air handler in for the heat and done a Mod/Con wall hung that ran at 95%+ and would have given her all the hot water and heat from one unit. From the look in her eye, I could have sold that easily. I told her of the problems with instantaneous heaters and the thermal lag with short draws etc and they need a small 8 gallon tank to solve this problem that some users have complained about. She now knows all the plus's and minus's to the install. Did I miss anything?
When I'm done, she will know what to expect.
I spoke with the manager of the supply house I deal with and he took me to the employee house they have and showed me the one they have, the same as I use. It was extremely quiet. I asked the guy who lives in the room above about the noise through the floor. He said he could barely hear it.
If you skip a step, you could be sorry. If I skipped a step in telling you to not use an electric water heater, I'm sorry.
I live by this motto. "There's never enough time to do it right. But there's always time (for someone like me) to do it over."

Combustion air:

@ April 30, 2011 8:45 AM in computing air-volume : is "boiler room" big enough?

You have a Riello burner. Install the outside air box and take your combustion air from outside and eliminate the largest part of your problem.
At my last MA PHCC CEU, on the 3 hour gas part, at least an hour was devoted to make-up air for gas appliances. I have always pondered the question of wood louvers and how they were rated. I and others are quite wrong. A 10"x10" wood louvre isn't 100 sq. Inches. It's a lot less because of the wood. What you calculate may be a lot less. Outside air boots on a burner will close the factor a lot. I use them whenever I can. And this tightening up of houses puts a serious restriction on make-up air.

Grease Interceptors/recovery:

@ April 30, 2011 8:22 AM in A question for the plumbers

I mis-wrote.
MA, or where I work, we always used the "Grease Trap" as a "Trap". The interceptor was the trap.
In my 2009/20010, CEU, we were given diagrams of a change where the interceptor was no longer the trap. I haven't installed one since the change. The health department was making restaurants make the changes. The few places I had them were not forced to change then and still have not.
I just got my book for the change and it shows the "obsolete" drawing, and the "Official Revision". It shows a trap, and vent before external flow control and the vent for the flow control connected to the waste vent tied into the sanitary vent. With no trap between the outlet of the interceptor and the sanitary waste.
The MA PHCC CEU classes are the best because they give you a nice big book on everything discussed in the classes and a frameable certificate. And nice big drawings on how it was and how it is now to be done.
Sorry for the mis-information. 

Grease Interceptors:

@ April 29, 2011 7:25 AM in A question for the plumbers

And that puts an end to ALL Massachusetts questions about Grease  Interceptors.
And the Interceptor isn't a "Trap", it's an interceptor that must be vented and traped AFTER the interceptor. So it doesn't become "double trapped".

Grease Interceptors:

@ April 29, 2011 7:24 AM in A question for the plumbers

And that puts an end to ALL Massachusetts questions about Grease  Interceptors.
And the Interceptor isn't a "Trap", it's an interceptor that must be vented and traped AFTER the interceptor. So it doesn't become "double trapped".

Panel Radiators:

@ April 29, 2011 7:11 AM in ironranger

I'm not familiar with the panel radiators you speak of. But most panel radiators have a larger volume of water in them over fin tube baseboard. If you connect panel radiators in a series loop situation, the first radiator gets hot and by the time the last radiator gets water, it may be cold. Making the zone extremely difficult to control. The first area will be hot and the end area will be cooler. If the thermostat controls the hot area, the end area will be cold. If it is the other way around, and the thermostat controls the cold area, the first area will be too hot.
They need to be connected as a one pipe system or what is common is running small PEX and home runs. It takes a lot of tube. You can do a true reverse return or a direct return. The idea is to get the same hot water to all panels. Unlike someone in my customer base. You can use manifold blocks on home runs but I personally try to do a reverse return to keep the pipe runs down. If I use manifold blocks, I always connect them as a reverse return. Left to right, Supply:1,2,3,4,5,6. Return, 6,5,4,3,2,1.  A direct return would be with the supplies and returns opposite each other. Balance is the name of the game.

But that works for me. 

NG Conversion:

@ April 28, 2011 9:07 PM in NG conversion - diameter of old raditor pipes

Charlies from MA is right. 150,000 is more like it and probably less.
There are some really bright guys in your area. I just met a few at 2 days of Veissmann classes.
Plan whatever you do around adding insulation and weatherstripping to your home which will cut down on your heat loss.
Here's something to consider if you want to ditch oil. If the Natural Gas is unavailable like Tim McIlwaine suggested, consider LP. A Mod/Con gas boiler can be converted back and forth. 
Find a contractor that is up to date and knows what is going. One that keeps learning. 

Old Farts:

@ April 28, 2011 8:55 PM in Cold start an oil fired water heater??

I've forgotten more about building trades than you may ever know. And I've not forgotten much. I see regularly things that I did 40 years ago and am still proud to say that I did them. I and my wife have built more than one house from scratch with myself doing all the mason work, wiring, heating, plumbing and finish work. I framed and trimmed out these houses. Milled my trim and flooring. I regularly get schooled in what is going on.
If you think I give a rats rectum what you think, sorry.
I offer suggestions. Based on my long experience in building trades. My love, my hobby and job.
What you are doing, isn't correct. You can do it. Have on it.

Code Interpretations:

@ April 28, 2011 8:41 PM in A question for the plumbers

Glad I work and live in Massachusetts where we have a "Uniform State Plumbing and Gas Code". One that applies the same in every city and town in the Commonwealth. Local inspectors have monthly get together's that are required so they can keep up with what is current. There is no local BS. And inspectors "That like to see it like this" can be put in their place by the board. None of this one town wants it like this while another town wants the opposite.
Some jurisdictions may have PITA inspectors but they all read and use the same code books as the rest of us.

Steam Radiators:

@ April 28, 2011 8:31 PM in Steam radiators and hardwood floors


Hybrid Vs Oil:

@ April 28, 2011 8:28 PM in Ge Hybrid VS. Oil

You will never get the hot water performance from the heat pump.
If you got 20 years out of a Bock Oil fired WH, you are way ahead of the game. Consider buying another Bock.
If you are willing to buy a heat pump heater, consider buying a Veissmann Vitodens 100 and a small indirect. It will heat water ion the cheap and save you piles of cash. It will give you a lot of flexibility and it will do heat. It is direct vent/sealed combustion so you don't need a chimney and will run LPG or Nat Gas. You can get outside LP tanks. They are really well priced at this time and is something I would ask you to consider. It is modulating and condensing.
The choices are endless.

Aquastat settings:

@ April 28, 2011 8:13 PM in Proper Aquistat settings??

If your Amtrol is a "Boiler Mate" indirect with a circulator tied into the heat system and you don't have a tankless heater, and you have your aquastat set to act as a triple acting control with a high limit and operating control side, set the operating/low side to 140 and the high side to 160 degrees. You could try setting the "low" side to 130 degrees but you may get some condensating. But, you will really only be using the Amtrol "Indirect" where, when it runs, the coil will be pulling hot water into the boiler when it starts and you won't get the cold water shock you will on the heat side where the heat system is cold. 
Because you are in "The Shoulder Season" where you don't need design day temperature, your house will be very warm. Chances are that your house is over radiated and you don't need higher temperature water. If the house gets cold, turn up the high limit 10 degrees.
It's worth a try. 

Hybrid Oil:

@ April 28, 2011 8:26 AM in Ge Hybrid VS. Oil

If you have a Bock oil fired water heater 20 years old, it is living on borrowed time and is on life support and you don't know it.
If you use an electric hot water heater, a 4500 watt element will recover 18 GPH. It doesn't matter that there are two elements in the tank, only one runs at a time.
The GE combo unit (in my opinion) is rated (?) at 7 KW. That's a little more than your element in the tank which is probably 4.5 KW (4500 Watts). If it is a heat pump driven ( by a compressor, you need to calculate the cost of compressing all that refrigerant
In my opinion, a far better choice (from what you describe), would be a gas water heater. A 30, 40 or 50 gallon gas water heater are fired at around 36,000 BTU's per hour and recover 36 GPH. You are better off going to LP. You can have a tank and have delivery like your oil. If you use a 30, 40, 50 or 80 gallon electric water heater, it will still only recover 18 GPH.
If you crunch numbers, you can buy a lot of competitive gas water heater for the price of a combination electric/heat pump water heater. It is still heated by electricity. The most expensive way to heat water. 
If you really want to do it right, put in a Vitodens 100 and an indirect or a flat plate heater. Then you are set to move up in the world.

Cols Start Oil Fired WH:

@ April 27, 2011 9:26 PM in Cold start an oil fired water heater??

It sounds to me like you are using the oil fired heater as just a heat source for a shop. That's different than what I was writing about.
I'm writing about heating a large space, with potable hot water where you must (to be legal by code) use Fin Tube baseboard with Type "L" Copper fin tube and all the tube in the system must be Type "L". Then, you have a few baths and a kitchen to supply with domestic potable hot water. Then, you shove a heating load upon the whole mess. It is extremely hard on the water heater. And often (as a customer told me the other day about her system) you can't take a shower when the heat is calling.
But in my 40+ years of doing this, all the ones I ever saw where they used an oil fired water heater as a primary DHW supply AND a primary heat source, the failure rate came quickly and never worked well. The first sign of failure was rusty water after long periods of no use.

Radiant Mats:

@ April 27, 2011 8:49 PM in Any Difference Between "Suntouch" and "Nuheat"?

If you have room in the panel, use the 240 volts mats. It keeps the load balenced in your electrical system. 120 volts will unbalance the system. You won't save any money with 120 volts over 240 volts.

Cutting oil in pipes:

@ April 26, 2011 8:27 PM in Gas piping

Maybe I'm not telling you anything, but I have a way of keeping the oil out of the pipes when I am threading it.
I put a couple od 2X4's on the flat, under the back legs of my power drive. With the drive pitched forward, it keeps the oil at the end of the pipe. And if you always ream the pipe, the oil doesn't get caught up behind the ridge. It just runs out into the oil bucket.

Cold start oil fired WH's:

@ April 26, 2011 8:16 PM in Cold start an oil fired water heater??

I can not impress enough on you what a bad idea this is.
Back in the mid '90's, when this craze of using water heaters to heat houses and get domestic hot water came around again, Bock Oil Fired water Heaters became a favorite of some in New England. There was a guy in New Hampshire who put in a lot of them. They all failed within two years. Bock wouldn't cover the warranty because that is not what they are approved for. This one person in New Hampshire (who I don't know and don't know his name) moved to where I work in Massachusetts. He sold a lot of jobs to the hot shots with the same plan, Bock oil fired water heaters for heat and water. He had the same results. The water heaters just couldn't take than cold water flowing in from a system like that.
My wife and I went to a farm in Warner, NH and when the owner found out where we were from, and I worked, he asked me if I knew ths guy who had installed this system in his house, went through three Bock water heaters and wouldn't return his calls. Then, the owner had to re-do his whole system. I don't know anything about the installer. Just his problems.
I have had experience with this bad idea. It goes back to before you probably knew what heating pipes were. Like very early, 1960's. It was sold as a way to heat a cottage in the spring and fall. The first thing one noticed after a few years was yellow hot water when the tank was breaking down.
Water heaters heat domestic hot water,
Boilers heat heating water.

Riello Strainer Gasket:

@ April 24, 2011 8:45 PM in Riello 40 F3 strainer housing gasket

Truly sorry for the mix up.

Forgive me for replying:

@ April 24, 2011 5:39 PM in Riello 40 F3 strainer housing gasket

You came here and asked how to turn down your pump pressure on your fuel pump for some reason, known only to your self. No amount of contrary suggestions would seem to sway you from your mission.
It's your right to do whatever you wish, with whomever you wish and whenever. Provided you have their permission if it becomes dangerous.
My comments to you about Firedragon were for your own information and protection. His discussion group is by invitation only and is for professionals. They are not as tolerant over there as we are here for foolishness. There are a few members of the Firedragon's group here. I haven't seen them chime in with encouragement for you.
In an age where conventional wisdom on oil equipment is to raise the pump pressure to achieve better atomization and to down size nozzles to protect from over firing, you come along and want an explanation on how to downsize your burner by lowering the pump pressure.
Knock Thine self Out.